The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has again called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue to renew the Beef Finisher Payment for 2021.

ICSA beef chair, Edmund Graham said: “Further financial aid for beef finishers is essential to ensure as many farmers as possible can emerge from this prolonged Covid-19 crisis.

“While prices have picked up in recent weeks, these increases in no way make up for the months of savage price cuts beef farmers had to endure in advance of that,” he said. 

Rise in cost of inputs for beef finisher farmers

Graham continued: “Farmers have also had to contend with massive increases in the costs of inputs.

“It all adds up to beef finishers moving further and further away from achieving anywhere near the actual cost of production.

“The writing is now on the wall – beef finishers need further financial support for losses incurred on cattle sold from last November to at least the end of April 2021.” 

Graham said the Beef Finisher Payment worked well last year and the scheme could be replicated with “relative ease” this year.

“The scheme did what it was supposed to do, and bureaucracy was kept to a minimum. Crucially, there was no destocking clause and factory-owned animals were not eligible.

“The scheme helped the winter finishers who needed it most and also provided an indirect boost to suckler farmers when it came to the autumn sales. It is clear the same support must be provided for this year,” the beef chairperson said.

The ICSA said that the EU’s Covid-19 recovery fund is in place to facilitate such a scheme, but that there needs to be action from agriculture department officials on accessing the funds and delivering supports to farmers.